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Story Of My Thai Citizenship Application

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Hi guys, anybody knows the answer to questions in the post above?

There is no complicated outcome - you can hold dual citizenship which implies 2 passports if you require them.

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Hi guys, anybody knows the answer to questions in the post above?

There is no complicated outcome - you can hold dual citizenship which implies 2 passports if you require them.

That's right - two passports are quite OK - I've never had any questions asked by either the airline or Thai immigration. All you have to do is:

When leaving Thailand: Show show whatever non Thai passport you have to the airline at check in so that they can verify that you don't need a visa to go to your destination, then use your Thai passport to pass through Thai immigration, then use your non Thai passport to pass through immigration at your destination

When entering Thailand, the process is reversed: Thai passport at check in, foreign passport at departure immigration, Thai passport at Thai immigration on arrival

It's really very easy.

Some people have reported Thai immigration insisting that a foreign passport be used to enter Thailand (trying to refuse the Thai one). This has never happened to me, and if it did I would ask to see a supervisor because there is no legal way that Thai immigration can deny entry to a Thai passport holder.

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Thank you for the answer! Sounds good, I presume that if you already have 2 passports having a third would not make a difference.

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Thank you for the answer! Sounds good, I presume that if you already have 2 passports having a third would not make a difference.

No difference at all.

One caveat: If you are naturalising, keep your original name. While switching passports between departure and arrival is easy, I've never tried switching names and I'm not quite sure how that would work because I have the same name in both my Thai and non-Thai passports.

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I'm coming up on my 3 years in Thailand so hubby & I started getting our papers together for my citizenship app.

However we've been absolutely stone-walled at the Amphur trying to get a yellow tabian baan. The Amphur staff said my visa class makes me ineligible. According to them I need to enter Thailand on a visa based on marriage. I am currently on a company visa because I my employer transferred me to work here.

There aren't too many cases of farang women with Thai husbands in our country Isaan Amphur, so I'm inclined to think they gave me the 'easy answer' rather than the 'correct answer'. There was no consultation of any regulations and the woman at the desk just stared at hubby disdainfully and waved him away when he asked if she could double-check with her superior.

Unfortunately our district office is small with only a handful of staff. So we aren't likely to see anyone different if we go back and try again... where the heck can we go to check this info?

P.S. Although the original posts in this thread were about men applying for PR/citizenship, this thread is invaluable for women married to Thai men & researching Thai citizenship as the whole system works differently for us. Wonder if the mods would consider renaming this thread something like 'Thai citizenship info for western women married to Thai man' and pinning it at the top of the forum?

Under Section 21 of the Civil Registration Act of 2008 district offices are now supposed to issue tabien baan for any foreigners who are legally in Thailand:

Section 21. Section 38 of the Civil Registration Act B.E. 2534 shall be

repealed and replaced by the following:

“Section 38. The district or local registrar shall issue a household registration

for persons without Thai nationality having been permitted to stay temporarily and

those having been giving leniency for temporary residence in the Thai Kingdom as a

special case in accordance with law on immigration and the declaration of the Cabinet

and their children born within the Thai Kingdom. In a case of permission of

temporary residence overdue, the registrar shall immediately dispose of such persons.

The Director of Central Registration shall make profile registration for persons

without Thai nationality besides those under paragraph one in accordance with the

declaration of the Cabinet.

Registrations under paragraph one and two shall lie in the manner prescribed

in the regulations under the discretion of the Director of Central Registration.”

This seems to be broad enough even to include tourists which is obviously not the intention. On the other hand it is clearly intended to include stateless persons like hill tribe people but I have seen reports of them being rejected by district officers who deny the existence of this new provision. It also seems to include those on non-immigrant, marriage or retirement visas.

BTW you could get a marriage visa which also entitles you to have a work permit, if you don't mind having to get your husband to accompany you to Immigration for all extensions.

Dealing with obtuse and ignorant district office officials seems to be a problem as many don't know the law and/or prefer to make up their own rules which are usually not beneficial to foreigners. They are allowed a lot of freedom and I don't know of any appeals procedure from their arbitrary decisions. Maybe you can go the Local Administration Dept in the Interior Ministry, the dept responsible for district offices, and find some one who can advise you how to get a tabien baan, in the light of the 2008 Civil Registration Act. Alternatively you could go the marriage visa route when your non-immigrant visa and WP expire.

I have uploaded the 2008 Civil Registration Act in English and Thai versions in case any one is interested.

Thailand_Civil_Registration_ActBE_2551No2_en_.pdf

Thailand_Civil_Registration_ActBE_2551No2_th_.pdf

Edited by Arkady

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My question is what if you said that you do have two passports! What would the immigration do? Also if you leave the country and they ask you where you go, you say you go to US and they ask you where is a US visa in your Thai passport? It is not hard to find out that you still hold two passports. If they do find out will they take your Thai passport away? What is the possible outcome?

This has been discussed earlier in this thread and elsewhere but it is still an interesting and important question. The Nationality Act is vague on this point but does nonetheless contain some apparently troubling provisions including the grounds for revocation of nationality of naturalized Thais:

"Section 19. The Minister is empowered to revoke Thai nationality of a person who acquires Thai nationality by naturalisation if it appears that:

(1) The naturalisation was effected by concealment of facts or making any statement false in material particular;

(2) There is evidence to show that he still makes use of his former nationality;

(3) He commits any act prejudicial to the security or conflicting the interests of the State, or amounting to an insult to the nation;

(4) He commits any act contrary to public order or good morals;

(5) He has resided abroad without having a domicile in Thailand for more than five years;

(6) He still retains the nationality of the country at war with Thailand.

The revocation of Thai nationality under this section may extend to children of a person whose Thai nationality is revoked in case such children are not sui juris and acquire Thai nationality under Section 12, paragraph two and the Minister shall, after the order for revocation of Thai nationality has been given, shall submit the matter to the King for information."

Para 2 provides the right to revoke nationality where there is evidence of using a former nationality. On the other hand neither the Act nor the ministerial regulations say that the former nationalilty should be surrendered after naturalisation as Thai has taken place, nor that dual nationality is prohibited, nor does it define what is meant by "making use of his former nationality". Travelling to another country without getting a visa in one's Thai passport is clearly making use of the former nationality in the broad sense but it has no impact on Thailand or its legal system and the naturalized Thai is technically only making use of the former nationality outside Thailand in that case. A naturalized Thai who used his former nationalilty to enter Thailand under a different name to avoid criminal or civil charges or military service on the other hand would clearly be using the former nationality within Thailand in a way that does impinge on the Thai legal system.

Current practice seems to be that Immigration officers often (but not always) ask dual nationals if they have another passport when they are leaving Thailand for a country for which Thais need to visa, although this seems to be only out of concern that they might be turned back if they need a visa.

The negative seems to be that the law is contradictory but does seem to provide a means for a change of attitude towards naturalized Thais. While the government may wish to do this to make things more difficult for dual national Malay Thais in the Deep South, the law doesn't actually provide for this. This is because the provisions for revocation of nationality apply only to naturalized Thais and those who are Thai by birth, i.e. born in Thailand to alien parents. There is no legal way to revoke the nationality of any one who is Thai by descent, i.e. has at least one Thai parent. Nearly all the Malay Thais in the South are Thai by descent and therefore it is not possible to use these provisions against them, although the Malaysians could deal with them, if they wanted to, as they have specific prohibitions against dual nationality.

While virtually anything is possible in Thailand, including a crack down on naturalized Thais exiting Thailand on route for the US without US visas in their Thai passports, I see this as unlikely. This is because a crack down of this nature would net a large number of dual nationals who are Thai by descent, including thousands of look krung, and can't be penalized. Having put naturalized Thais through such detailed application and vetting procedures, but not required them to show evidence of former nationality after naturalization (as some countries do) it would be odd to strip their nationality on an ambiguous point of law.

What cannot be discounted is a future change of The Nationality Act that might specifically make dual nationality illegal. To be meaningful and have an impact on the security situation in the South this provision would have to apply to dual nationals who are Thai by descent as well, i.e. acquiring or holding another nationalitly would automatically made the Thai nationality invalid. I think there would be resistance to this, since it would make life difficult for many dual national hi-so Thais, as well as the thousands of look krung with Thai mothers who became entitled to Thai nationalilty as a result of The Nationality Act of 1992. The trend on nationality in the 1992 and 2008 Acts has been creeping liberalization and there is obviously an influential body of opinion that favours this. A more draconian approach towards nationality would reminiscient of Revolutionary Decree 337 in 1971 which suddenly stripped citizenship from thousands of Thais of Chinese, Indochinese and other origins born in the Kingdom to alien parents and prevented Thai women from passing on their nationality to their offspring. I believe that many Interior Ministry bureaucrats believe that this legislation was shameful and, since the early 90s they have been advising successive governments to repeal the decree bit by bit. The Nationality Act of 2008 effectively repealed the last remnants of Revolutionary Decree 337, i.e. the right to Thai nationality for those born in the Kingdom to alien parents, even though this seems to be retroactive in practice only for those born in Thailand up till 1992. It is nonetheless a big step for many stateless people, if they can figure out how to persuade district officers to issue them with ID cards in accordance with the law.

Opinion amongst farang naturalized Thais seems divided. I know some who get visas to travel to Western countries to play safe or (expensively and tediously) avoid the issue by flying via Hong Kong or Singapore, while others seem to breeze through Suwarnaphumi with a visaless Thai passport without problems. The loophole for Brits to get certificates of entitlement (permanent UK residence) stamped in their Thai passports is now closed, as these are no longer issued to British dual nationals. It is a decision for all to make when they get their Thai nationality, if they plan to visit Western countries directly from Thailand.

Edited by Arkady

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Arkady - you are quite right and this is a very illuminating view on the word of the law and its interesting ambiguities, such as what constitutes 'use of a foreign nationality.' As a dual national myself, I have never used my foreign nationality in Thailand, but use it out of the country as it facilitates travel without the need to apply for visas. While in Thailand, I only use my Thai nationality, and I have never had even the smallest hint of a problem using two passports for travel in the way that I described earlier in this thread. I travel frequently on both a regional and long-haul (to the western world) basis. Apart from raised eyebrows, jokes, and on one occasion being asked to show my UK passport by Thai immigration on departure (I was travelling to the US), I always breeze through Thai immigration in both directions.

As you say, a certificate of entitlement is no longer issued by the UK authorities, yet the only dual nationals I know who go to all the trouble getting foreign visas in their Thai passports are those who have a Thai name that differs from their original name. When I applied for Thai nationality, the requirement to take a Thai name was no longer in force, so I kept my original name and would advise others who wish to travel on two passports to do likewise.

Of course, Thailand could change the rules and ban dual nationality altogether, potentially leaving people like me with a hard choice to make, but it hasn't done so yet nor is there any move that I can see to make this happen. This is Thailand, and anything can happen, but nothing has happened yet.

The Thai Nationality Act, with its provisions to strip nationality makes rather scary reading, but the way it is and has been implemented is straightforward and reasonable. I don't know anyone who has been the subject of any scrutiny, yet alone lost their Thai citizenship. The ambiguous provision to strip Thai nationality for using another nationality is likely there for the reasons you stated: to prevent criminals from hiding behind another identity. Any other use of this ambiguous paragraph 2 to revoke nationality would seem unlikely (we have heard of none), misinterpreted (they never intended it to include use of a foreign nationality while abroad) and/or there only to be invoked only in the most extreme circumstances where national security is at stake.

Like you say there are various hi-so cases of dual nationals who would likely stall any move to abolish the practice.

Edited by thaiphoon
No need to quote post above - Use Fast Reply - thaiphoon

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Arkady,

excellent analysis as always.

Like you say there are various hi-so cases of dual nationals who would likely stall any move to abolish the practice.

I suspect, that given the current Thai PM and Finance Minister would both qualify for British Nationality by birth, you'd find very little momentum for a change from this administration on that front.

On the other side of politics, Thaksin's son was born in the US and is a US citizen.

Add to that, numerous influential Thai's with dual nationality, and I don't think there will be any real momentum to ban dual nationaity. As Arkady said, the trend for the past 2 decades has been liberalisation.

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Another curious aspect of The Nationality Act in this area is that a woman who obtains Thai nationality as a result of being married to Thai man cannot have her nationality revoked under Section 19. Her Thai nationality can only be revoked if the information provided about her marriage turns out to be false. In fact the nationality of a foreign women who obtains Thai nationality through marriage to a Thai man who is Thai through naturalization or through birth in Thailand to alien parents seems theoretically more secure than that of her husband!

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As you say, a certificate of entitlement is no longer issued by the UK authorities, yet the only dual nationals I know who go to all the trouble getting foreign visas in their Thai passports are those who have a Thai name that differs from their original name. When I applied for Thai nationality, the requirement to take a Thai name was no longer in force, so I kept my original name and would advise others who wish to travel on two passports to do likewise.

Naturalized Thais I know who get visas to go to the US etc got their nationality in the days when you had to take a Thai name. That must be an additional consideration for them as you say. I once met an American lawyer who had reclaimed her Thai nationality by birth in Thailand and had managed to take a Thai name only one or two letters different to her American name. She said she had successfully switched passports on trips to the US without problem but she said she was going to get an affidavit from the American Embassy that she was the same person as the holder of her Thai passport to avoid potential problems. I haven't seen her since then and I don't know if an affidavit would help people who have completely different Thai names in all cases.

I would think that, if they really wanted to prevent the use of former nationalities by naturalized Thais they wouldn't allow them to keep their original names. The Special Branch people who handle the nationality applications told me they understand that applicants prefer to keep their own names these days for convenience of travel overseas.

Clockwork Orange, can you tell what happens to middle names, if you want to keep your own name. Do you keep those too or do you shorten your Thai name to just your first name and family name. Obviously the middle names are all there in Thai on your alien book, tabien baan etc when you are a PR. The problem I find is that Thais get confused as which one is the family name and you have to use all of them for bank accounts etc. Thai civil registration law recently allowed Thais to register a middle name but only one I think and many foreigners have several. The idea is that you are supposed to have a unique family name, so middle names are not really necessary.

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I have just read something troubling in the literature I picked recently from Special Branch. The hand out listing the documents required to apply for Thai nationality has had one item added so that there are now 18 points. Point 17 now reads in my own translation, "Affidavit from embassy or consulate confirming the applicant’s intention to renounce his current nationality when his application for Thai nationality is approved." The Special Branch website does not incorporate this significant change yet and is still showing the previous list of documents with only 17 points. Perhaps the "creeping liberalisation" has now come to end, at least in the case of naturalized Thais, or perhaps it was just wishful thinking. Since the 2008 Nationality Act theoretically opened the way for foreign men married to Thais to apply for Thai nationality without five years' residence or knowledge of the Thai language, this may be the subtle backlash from the bureaucrats against the lawmakers to prevent a flood of thousands applicants with Thai wives. Special Branch's handouts still make no mention of any relaxed requirements for male applicants with Thai wives and still require permanent residence documents for all males but perhaps the Interior Ministry saw the writing on the wall.

I am not sure how this new documentary requirement will work. Will embassies provide such a document? They are not really in a position to certify what intentions their citizens may have and may refuse. On the other hand, most are quite happy to provide a certificate of freedom to marry, as required by the Thai authorities, even though it is usually just an affidavit by the citizen and the embassy is not interested in checking marital records at home to ensure the citizen is single. It might at any rate take embassies some time to find out about this new citizenship requirement and decide how to deal with it which could involve delays for those who still wish to apply. Countries, such as Norway and maybe other Scandinavian countries, that don't allow dual citizenship actually follow up to ensure that naturalized citizens really cancel their former nationalities after they have been naturalized. Maybe Thailand will do the same. Some countries allow citizens to reclaim their nationality (once in the case of the UK) after renouncing it to gain another citizenship but this is an onerous and probably costly process that few would want to go through and would also involve a period without the former nationality while waiting to get it back again. I don't know what the ramifications will be for those who have already been naturalized - whether things might be made more difficult for them or just for those who have signed the affidavit. As we know the law contains an ambiguous clause allowing revocation of nationality from naturalized Thais using their former nationality. Even those willing to get visas to travel might not be able to do so to visit their home countries, if they retain their former nationality. The British COE loophole is now closed, as mentioned above, although I suppose the embassy might issue a tourist visa to a British citizen in his Thai passport, if he really wanted it. The US will not issue visas to its citizens, since it requires them to enter and leave the US on their US passports. The US Embassy and maybe others make no concessions to dual Thai/ Western nationals applying for visas in their Thai passports. They are told that, if they want a visa as a Thai citizen, they must pass the same scrutiny as any other Thai and could be rejected, even though they could still visit the US under the visa waiver program using their other passport. Finally, is paper trail following going to something that Immigration will start doing. Countries like Malaysia and Zimbabwe are known to scrutinise passports of any one they don't like the look of likely to have a second passport (i.e. Chinese in Malaysia and whites in Zimbabwe) to see if they can find evidence of a gap in travel in the passport that might indicate use of another passport. This makes

I am beginning to wonder, if I procrastinated a few years too many and if it is now worth applying for.

Edited by Arkady

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…Point 17 now reads in my own translation, "Affidavit from embassy or consulate confirming the applicant’s intention to renounce his current nationality when his application for Thai nationality is approved

I am not sure how this new documentary requirement will work. Will embassies provide such a document? They are not really in a position to certify what intentions their citizens may have and may refuse…

I think it would be an affidavit written by the applicant for Thai citizenship, not by the consulate, on which the consulate authenticates the signature but does not certify the contents.

Still, it is a noteworthy development and I wonder if there was a Ministerial Regulations to that effect published in the Royal Gazette. I doubt that Special Branch (Royal Thai Police) has the legal authority to introduce such new requirement on its own. From the Nationality Act:

Section 12. Any person being desirous of applying for naturalisation as a Thai, shall file an application with the competent official according to the form and in the manner prescribed in the Ministerial Regulations.

--

Maestro

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Maestro, it is a new ministerial regulation from the Interior Ministry dated 14 October 2009, a two page document updating the guidelines on applications for naturalization and the list of documents required. The new requirement is included in the guidelines with the same wording as point 7, as well as being point 17 in the list of documents. I post a scan but my scanner is on the blink. (The only other change I spotted compared to the old regulations that are still up on Special Branch’s website is that the minimum salary for those with Thai wives or children has been increased from 30,000 per month to 40,000.)

As you say, there is no document that an embassy could provide other than an affidavit that the applicant intends to renounce his citizenship after his Thai citizenship is granted, certified that it was signed in front of the consul. None of them would allow their citizens to formally renounce citizenship without evidence that the new citizenship is granted or will be granted immediately after the renunciation. I suppose consulates will certify signatures on most affidavits that appear above board and happily collect their fees, as they do with the pointless “freedom to marry” affidavits. The questions this new requirement brings to mind are:

1. Will they follow up and require proof of renunciation within a certain period after they issue the certificate of naturalization, or even before it can be issued?

2. Will they require affidavits and/or proof of renunciation from applicants awaiting approval who applied under the previous regulations?

3. Will Immigration be instructed to try to catch naturalized Thais using another passport?

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Clockwork Orange, can you tell what happens to middle names, if you want to keep your own name. Do you keep those too or do you shorten your Thai name to just your first name and family name. Obviously the middle names are all there in Thai on your alien book, tabien baan etc when you are a PR. The problem I find is that Thais get confused as which one is the family name and you have to use all of them for bank accounts etc. Thai civil registration law recently allowed Thais to register a middle name but only one I think and many foreigners have several. The idea is that you are supposed to have a unique family name, so middle names are not really necessary.

Middle names are a constant source of confusion in Thailand, and I have two of them which makes matters worse.

When I applied for Thi citizenship, I had to choose a Thai name at the Ampher, but was never made to use it because the regulations were changed so that no name change was included in the naturalisation process. I did ask Special Branch to drop my middle names but they wouldn't do it, insisting that my name should remain identical through the process but that I could change it any time after natualisation.

I ended up with an ID card and a passport bearing my middle names, which I have kept ever since although I could easily get my middle names deleted at the Ampher I suppose.

It still causes confusion but I live with it.

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I can understand someone wanting to hold a Thai passport, though I cant grasp why anyone would attempt to be considered Thai, cause ultimately, that's never going to happen. Neither Farangs nor Thais are likely to ever think of a blue eyes American chap being 'Thai' , rather an American chap who happens to hold a Thai passport.

Not true. As a Thai citizen I enjoy all the rights that the Thais do. Most people are flattered and amused that a farang would want to be a Thai, and are very nice about the whole thing.

If you go around with a chip on your shoulder, you stand more chance of being discriminated against.

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